A single theme is pursued in this book - the trade between peoples of differing cultures through world history. Extending from the ancient world to the coming of the commercial revolution, Professor Curtin's discussion encompasses a broad and diverse group of trading relationships. Drawing on insights from economic history and anthropology, Professor Curtin has attempted to move beyond a Europe-centred view of history, to one that can help us understand the entire range of societies in the human past. Examples have been chosen that illustrate the greatest variety of trading relationships between cultures. The opening chapters look at Africa, while subsequent chapters treat the ancient world, the Mediterranean trade with China, the Asian trade in the east, and European entry into the trade with maritime Asia, the Armenian trade carriers of the seventeenth century, and the North American fur trade. Wide-ranging in its concern and the fruit of exhaustive research, the book is nevertheless written so as to be accessible and stimulating to the specialist and the student alike.
List of illustrations; Preface; 1. Trade diasporas and cross-cultural trade; 2. Africa: incentives to trade, patterns of competition; 3. Africa: traders and trade communities; 4. Ancient trade; 5. A new trade axis: the Mediterranean to China, circa 200 BC–AD 1000; 6. Asian trade and the rise of Islam; 7. The European entry into the trade of maritime Asia; 8. Bugis, banians and Chinese: Asian traders in the era of the great companies; 9. Overland trade of the seventeenth century: Armenian carriers between Europe and East Asia; 10. The North American fur trade; 11. The twilight of the trade diasporas; Bibliography; Index.
'The scope and sweep through time of Curtin's history is particularly attractive and valuable, since it provides perspective on a phenomenon which most historians have glimpsed only in small part. Indeed, the whole focus of Curtin's investigations is new to most of us. A really stimulating, pathbreaking work.' William H. McNeill, University of Chicago
'Once again, Philip Curtin has written a remarkable book - an account of how, throughout history, merchants and merchant groups have transcended the barriers of locality and parochialism to link together widely separate parts of the globe. A masterly study by a master historian.' Eric R. Wolf, City University of New York